You just had a great interview and now you’re waiting for the next step. And waiting. And waiting. But the call never comes. Why?
Having conducted more than 10,000 interviews in my career, I always made a point in following up with candidates after the interview, regardless of how well or how poorly the interview went. Yet I am aware of many candidates who never received any follow-up from the employer. Dead silence. Why does this happen? Here are the top 5 reasons why the company didn’t call you back:
- They’re stalling: it’s not that they won’t be calling you back, it’s just that they don’t have an answer for you yet. Maybe they are in the process of interviewing a long slate of candidates and are waiting to call you back until they are finished. Or maybe they are waiting for a response from candidate #1 and you are candidate #2 (or #3). Make sure you close every interview by asking “What are the next steps?” and getting specific on the timing. Then take it on yourself to follow up if that time window has passed.
- They are uncomfortable telling you no: the person you interviewed with doesn’t want to deliver bad news. Or doesn’t want to be confronted with giving you reasons why you are not being offered the job. So they simply avoid passing along any news at all. It’s a copout, but it happens a surprising number of times.
- Lack of professionalism: the person you interviewed with does not properly follow up due to not having the professional competence to know that a response is required, even if it means to tell you that you were not selected for the role. It could be simple disorganization or lack of prioritization. It could be as simple as your resume getting buried in a stack of other work.
- The interviewer left the company: yep, it does happen. The person you interviewed with may have been one foot out the door. Or ready to quit. Or fired. It does happen. And sometimes, work-in-progress—such as interviews—are not handed off to the successor. More likely to happen at a small company where there is no formal interviewing process and/or HR department following up on next steps.
- They are swamped: maybe there were 10 or 20 (or maybe even 100) people interviewed for the role. You slip through the cracks of the massive follow-up. Or the interviewer has multiple priorities and following up after interviews is not high in those priorities. You will typically get a “I was meaning to call you…” response if/when you finally follow up on your own.
Don’t let any of the above derail your job search. You should clearly establish next steps at the end of the interview by simply asking, “What are the next steps?” and making note of the steps and timing. If the timing passes, it is up to you to make the call. Be persistent and be personal. Don’t sit around waiting for the call that never comes.